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11 Of The Best Walks In Meath (Forest, Canal + Hill Walks)

11 Of The Best Walks In Meath (Forest, Canal + Hill Walks)

When it comes to walks in Meath, you’ve plenty to choose from.

But, for some odd reason, in many guides to the best things to do in Meath, walks rarely feature, which is a shame, as there’s some mighty strolls in the Royal County.

When it comes to taking a walk in the countryside, you’re spoilt for choice in County Meath. With a rich variety of locations, including forests, river walks and unique environments, like raised bogs.

In the guide below, you’ll discover a mix of my favourite long and short walks in Meath, from the lovely Balrath Woods to the popular Girley Bog Walk.

Our favourite walks in Meath

balrath wood walks

Photos courtesy of Niall Quinn

The first section of our Meath walks guide tackles our favourite walks and hikes in Meath.

As always, for any longer walk or hike, make sure you plan your route in advance, check the weather and let someone know where you’re going.

1. Loughcrew

Loughcrew cairns

Photos via Shutterstock

Set off from the amazing Loughcrew Cairns, and scale the grassy hills that surround the area. The walk covers 3-4kms of trail, is graded as a medium challenge, and it can take between 40-60-minutes to complete. It’s worth noting that there are guided tours available during the summer months.

What will you see? How about some breath-taking scenery across County Meath, and the three Cairns at Loughcrew, which date back some 5,000 years! This walk isn’t for those with mobility issues as the path is uneven and very steep. There’s a parking area at the main entrance and you start the trail from there.

  • Time: 40-75-minutes.
  • Length: 3-4kms
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Start-point: Loughcrew Cairns car park

2. Girley Eco Bog Walk

girley bog walk

Photos by Mary McKeon

The Girley Bog walk is perfect for a morning ramble. This bog is of special significance due to its raised nature; one of only a handful in Europe. The walk is a loop, setting out from the southerly car park, and circling the bog before returning to the start.

The walk will take you through a variety of environments, including woodland, and scrub which grows as a result of peat cutting. Watch out for the interpretive panels en route, and if you’re there in the late afternoon you’ll no doubt be treated to entrancing birdsong.

  • Time: 90-120-minutes.
  • Length: 6kms
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Start-point: Drewston Woods, near Kells.

3. Balrath Woods

balrath woods meath

Photos courtesy of Niall Quinn

Located off the N2 between Slane and Dublin, the mixed broadleaf trees of Balrath Woods make for a wonderful relaxed walk. Park in the nearby car park and set out to discover the 50-acre site; a great spot for European plant and tree identification, and to spot wildlife.

There are three different walks at Balrath, and each has a colour code. The Long Walk, which circles the woods’ perimeter, will take about 30-minutes and has a variety of terrains. The Nature Walk follows the beginning of the Long Walk but turns off after halfway.

This walk will take approximately 20-minutes. The Easy Walk is ideal for those with buggies or mobility issues as it is linear, level, and passes accessible playgrounds.

  • Time: 10-30-minutes.
  • Length: 600-meters-1.6kms
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Start-point: Balrath Woods Car Park

More popular Meath walks

visiting tara in meath

Photos via Shutterstock

Now that we have our favourite hikes in Meath out of the way, it’s time to see what else this historic corner of Ireland has to offer.

Below, you’ll find some of the more popular Meath walks, with a mix of short strolls and half day rambles.

1. Boyne Ramparts Walk

Boyne Ramparts

Photos via Shutterstock

Take a stroll through myth and legend along the River Boyne on this trail. While the walk does take in some historic stonework and ruins, the path is predominantly along the river’s edge. See how many different animals and plant species you can identify as you crossover historic stone bridges, and breathe in the fresh air as you trace the footsteps of those who’ve explored before you.

Along the pathways, there are interpretive panels that provide further detail to specific parts of the route, and to inform you about the Boyne’s designation as a ‘Special Area of Conservation’.

  • Time: 2-2.5-hours
  • Length: 16kms
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Start-point: Stackallen (to/from Navan Ramparts)

2. Mullaghmeen Forest (actually Westmeath!)

Mullaghmeen Forest

Photos with thanks to @grianghraifdeirinn

Just south of Lough Sheelin, Mullaghmeen Forest offers walkers a wide range of walks for all levels of fitness and mobility. Walks are colour-coded for easy distinction and clear on-route guidance, just follow your chosen way marker colour and enjoy the incredible scenery of your walk.

Mullaghmeen Forest is filled with broadleaf trees, wildflowers in spring and summer, and is home to a wide variety of Irish wildlife. Take the ‘White’ trail and you’ll make your way through history; as the walk passes remnants of ‘famine fields’ and a ‘famine garden’ that date back to the Great Famine.

  • Time: 120-minutes
  • Length: 8kms
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Start-point: Mullagheen Forest Car Park

3. Summerhill Woods

A loop circuit that weaves its way around and through the Summerhill Woods, this route is classified as ‘easy’, but does ascend gradients of 60-meters at points. It’s not recommended for those with mobility issues but is considered to be buggy-friendly, and ideal for running or mountain biking.

The circuit makes its way through glades and wooded areas and has occasional picnic spots with standard permanent tables and bench seating. You’ll also spot small waterways, old and new growth forestry, making it a great option for energetic dog walks. Note, the route is popular with cyclists, so do watch out.

  • Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
  • Length: 2.9kms
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Start-point: Summerhill Wood car park

4. Boyne Valley Camino

Mellifont Abbey

Photos via Shutterstock

If you’re looking for long-distance hikes in Meath, give the Boyne Valley Camino a go! An extension of the pilgrim’s Camino walk from A Coruña to Santiago de Compostela, it forms part of the Celtic Camino series and is not to be missed by serious walkers.

The 25-kilometre walk forms a giant loop as it heads out from Drogheda, along the River Boyne, crosses through the woodland at Belnumber Wood, before approaching Mellifont Abbey

The return route crosses over the river and proceeds back to the city. You can expect much from this walk; climbs and descents, hills and fields, woodlands and rivers, new city and historic buildings, along with the myriad of trees and wildlife to keep you company.

  • Time: 6-8-hours
  • Length: 25kms
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Start-point: St. Peter’s Church Drogheda

5. The Hill of Tara

Hill Of Tara

Photos via Shutterstock

Have a royal walk at the Hill of Tara with this unforgettable adventure. Head out from the car park and you’ll soon see why this walk is so amazing. Between breathtaking scenery, ancient rock carvings, and connections to a part of Irish history that’s often overlooked.

Here, on the Hill of Tara, you’ll be able to see why it was the seat of the Irish High Kings, and that the ground itself is steeped in the mists of time and mythology. It’s up hills and down into valleys, has ‘sloping trenches’ of Iron and Bronze Age barrows, woodland, and fairy offerings.

  • Time: 30 – 40 minutes
  • Length: 5kms
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Start-point: Church car park, Tara Hill

Family-friendly walks in Meath

If you’re looking to stretch the legs with the kids (or a buggy) in tow, there’s some excellent family-friendly Meath walks on offer.

Below, you’ll find several rambles that’ll suit the whole family. Dive on in!

1. Trim Castle River Walk

best things to do in trim

Photos via Shutterstock

Take in the spectacular views of Trim Castle as you gently stroll along the River Boyne towards St Mary’s Abbey. You’ll pass the Yellow Steeple, and one of the five historic entrances to Trim called ‘Sheep Gate’, all before looping back around and returning you to the car park.

The walk is considered to be ‘easy’, and uses maintained footpaths, gravel paving, but is also considered uneven for those with unsure footing. The route contains interpretive and educational panels on the surrounding areas, and the views of the castle are truly postcard-worthy of capture.

  • Time: 40mins
  • Length: 1.5kms
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Start-point: Car park next to Trim Castle

2. Littlewood Forest Walk

Littlewood Forest Walk

Photos with thanks to @Grainnerussell

A loop walk that takes in broadleaf woodland and scenic landscapes towards Slane and its castle. The woodlands are a mix of broadleaf and conifer, with information boards dotted along the route that provides insight into the local flora and fauna of Littlewood.

The walk is mostly along level footpaths, although uneven and unsealed, and is considered to be easy/multi-access in nature and well suited to buggies or those walking dogs that are under control. There are no amenities at the car park, so planning is required.

  • Time: 40mins
  • Length: 2kms
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Start-point: Forest Entrance car park

3. Beaches galore

Termonfeckin beach

Photos via Shutterstock

There’s some excellent beaches in Meath if you fancy a handy stroll along the sand. Mornington Beach, Bettystown Beach and Laytown Beach are three solid options for a family stroll.

Meath is also a short spin away from many of the best beaches in Louth. In particular, Clogherhead Beach, Port Beach, Annagassan Beach and Termonfeckin Beach are each worth sauntering along.

Each beach is different and has an ideal time of day to make the most of your exploring and rambling opportunity. It’s recommended to research each of the beaches before arriving, as to whether or not they’re suitable for children, dogs, or buggies.

What Meath walks have we missed?

I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant walks in Meath from the guide above.

If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!

FAQs about the best walks in Meath

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Which walks are the longest?’ to ‘Which are the most scenic?’.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

What walks in Meath are worth doing today?

If you can only do one, try Loughcrew. The views from here on a clear day are sensational, and it’s an enjoyable climb to the top.

What Meath walks are good for families?

Balrath Woods is a great option for families, with a number of easy-going trails to tackle and a playground on-site, too.

Are there any good long walks in Meath?

If you’re after a long stroll, the Boyne Valley Camino is worth doing, and it’ll take you between 6 and 8 hours.

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